Wednesday, September 16, 2015
when God steps in
God steps in sometimes and performs miracles. He makes the lame walk and the blind see. Jesus and Elijah did some amazing things... feeding people, walking on water, healing people. Does God still do those things today?
Well, one thing you notice throughout Jesus's three years of public ministry was He always said that people's faith healed them. That He was (or was not) able to do the miraculous in a certain place because of the people's faith (or lack of it). Paul, in today's reading, says that God performs miracles among the Galatians because they believe the message they heard about Christ.
Are we lacking faith today? Certainly many of us are. The world in general is moving more towards agnosticism or even atheism. But we've always had agnostics and atheists among us, right?
If you read about some places in the world like Lourdes or Fatima or Lanciano, we see that it does appear that miracles still happen today.
But they don't seem to happen often, do they? Why does God not perform miracles more often? Why do so many people suffer and God doesn't step in and heal them miraculously?
Well, that's a big question, and Job helped us explore it recently. But besides the faith (or lack of it) in today's world, there is another big reason why God DID perform miracles then (and in certain places today) but doesn't do it every day in all of our lives.
See, we all grow old and die eventually. That's the inescapable fact of life, which many of us spend our entire lives trying to put off or ignore. Or we acknowledge that it's coming, but we do nothing about it. Like the people in Jerusalem in our OT reading today, many of us say to ourselves "Let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Even though Jesus healed people and brought people back from the dead, those same people got old again, got sick again, and eventually died (again).
So what is the purpose of miracles? Well, just as we previously said that faith brought about miracles, so it is also true that miracles bring about faith. While miracles never FORCE us to believe, they do give us reason to. Like the father who told Jesus "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief," miracles help the struggling beliefs of those who already choose to believe in God but struggle with doubt.
That's why it's important for us to immerse ourselves in stories of His working in people's lives. It grows your faith. If you focus on stories of doubt, it grows your doubt. Whichever you want to grow, feed that one.
Jesus performed miracles so that He could get people's attention, and tell them about the Kingdom of Heaven. He wanted them to believe Him so that He could lead them to salvation. That's the point of miracles. Not necessarily to make us well - we'll get sick again and die eventually anyway. That's life. But to show us that God is there waiting for us, and will be there for us when we die. To give us faith for that ultimate journey.
Will God work a miracle in your life? He might. He still does that. But the bigger reason why He gives us miracles is so that we can learn to trust Him, to love Him, and to get ready to meet Him when this life is over.
Thank You, God, for Your miracles and what they mean in our lives.